Enweying/FPHL/Gzowski College celebrates 10th anniversary

Photos by Keila MacPherson

Enweying building, home of The First Peoples House of Leaning and Peter Gzowski College, will celebrate its 10th anniversary on the weekend of February 7. The celebration will honour Peter Gzowski and celebrate the multidisciplinary nature of the college’s architecture and academic departments. As Trent University’s newest building, Enweying represents a multifaceted approach to living and learning.

Built in 2003, the building seeks to combine residence space with department offices and the First Peoples House of Learning. This spatial diversity sheds light on the meaning of Enweying: “The way we speak together,” as the building combines a multiplicity of spaces, perspectives, and functions into a single area.

Found within the black, red, white, and ochre 33 coloured walls of Enweying, which represent the medicine wheel, is Peter Gzowski College. The college was named after Trent’s eighth Chancellor, who was honoured with an honorary doctor of law degree at Trent and served as a recognized broadcaster and journalist for CBC radio. Peter Gzowski will be honoured throughout the celebratory weekend through a panel discussion consisting of former Gzowski Alumni and CBC personas, a mini golf tournament, and the 10th Anniversary Gala.

Enweying was built during a time when the college system at Trent was put under question. In consequence, the building has a considerable lack of common space in comparison to other college buildings at Trent. Dr. Melanie Buddle, former college head and current academic advisor, argues that although the lack of common areas has proven challenging in creating a community and fulfilling Trent’s vision of the colleges’ role to create intellectually and socially meaningful experiences, “it still has a college feel.”

The Atrium is one place students use as common space in Gzowski.
The Atrium is one place students use as common space in Gzowski.

Dr. Buddle argues that departments, student groups, and individuals have addressed this challenge by creating common areas in the gathering space, the atrium, the dining hall, and a common kitchen within the residence.

As a new college, Gzowski’s identity was also a matter of contestation. Older colleges at Trent have a series of traditions and well-established identities, however Gzowski lacks this entrenched distinctiveness. Dr. Buddle argues that “organically, the relationship between the First Peoples House of Learning, the living learning community, environmental sustainability, and indigenous studies, has morphed to be the identity of the college.” She also mentioned that the lack of a large amount of college traditions is a positive trait, as Gzowski has the potential of being flexible and innovative.

A unique and distinct space in its architecture and multifaceted interactions, Enweying prides itself for those characteristics that distinguish it from other university buildings, but is also representative of what it means to be at Trent. When asked how the building contributed and fit into Trent University life, Dr. Buddle stated, “Trent overall is very interdisciplinary and questioning, our students and faculty question, as they should. I think the fact that we have a combination of programs and that we find ways to do that is part of how we connect to the university.

“In other words, Enweying embodies the coexistence and integration of diverse cultures, fields of study, and belief systems that exist at Trent.”

In addition, the building’s environmentally conscious characteristics also make it distinctly ‘Trent’. Enweying’s architects sought to decrease its environmental footprint and did so by building it upwards rather than sprawling. They described it as “resting gently on the land.” In addition, Gzowski College’s Living and Learning Community is environmentally oriented and its informal motto is “Think globally, act locally.”

Melanie Buddle added that in the future, the strengthening of partnerships between the departments and programs that are found within the building will likely be a driving force behind Gzowski’s consolidating traditions and identity. In addition, she hopes that within the following years a stronger presence and link with Gzowski alumni will form.

Enweying’s 10th anniversary celebration not only celebrates the creation of a building, but celebrates the relationship between numerous academic disciplines, cultures, and people. It celebrates the way we speak together.

As Dr. Buddle stated, “We are not just a college, we are Enweying.”

10th Anniversary Weekend Schedule:

Saturday, February 7

1:00-3:00pm GC 114
Panel Discussion: “Enweying, The Way We Speak Together: A Dialogue About Canada.”

3:00-5:00pm GC Atrium
Alumni Reunion & Open Reception

6:00-9:00pm GC Peter Robinson Dining Hall
Gzowski 10th Anniversary Celebration Dinner

Sunday February 8

12:00-4:00 pm
Winter Mini-Golf Tournament for Literacy